James McMurtry has signed with New West Records. The legendary songwriter is currently writing songs for a new album to be released in summer 2019 on the leading Nashville-based record label. “I first became aware of James McMurtry’s formidable songwriting prowess while working at Bug Music Publishing in the ’90s,” says New West President John Allen. “He's a true talent. All of us at New West are excited at the prospect of championing the next phase of James’ already succesful and respected career.” McMurtry joins New West's singular roster of all-stars including Steve Earle, Rodney Crowell, John Hiatt, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Buddy Miller and dozens more.
McMurtry seems a perfect fit for a label housing “artists who perform real music for real people.” After all, No Depression says of the deep-browed songwriter's most recent collection, Complicated Game: “Lyrically, the album is wise and adventurous, with McMurtry – who's not prone to autobiographical tales – credibly inhabiting characters from all walks of life.” “[McMurtry] Fuses wry, literate observations about the world with the snarl of barroom rock,” National Public Radio echoes. “The result is at times sardonic, subversive and funny, but often vulnerable and always poignant.”
Meanwhile, McMurtry's new single “State of the Union” remains available as a free download via the songwriter's website (www.jamesmcmurtry.com)! The vibrant vignette showcases a master craftsman carrying peak form into his forthcoming collection. “My brother's a fascist, lives in Palacios, fishes the pier every night,” the song opens. “He hoslters his glock in a double retention. He smokes while he waits for a bite. He don't like the Muslims. He don't like the Jews. He don't like the Blacks and he don't trust the news. He hates the Hispanics and alternative views. He'll tell you it's tough to be white.”
“Every region of the United States seems to have its own way of anglicizing, or rather, Americanizing Spanish names,” McMurtry explains. “There’s a town called Palacios on the Texas coast. Texans pronounce it 'Palashuss,' which just happens to kinda rhyme with 'fascist.' While there’s usually at least one in every town, I don’t know for a fact that there’s even one actual fascist residing in or near the town of Palacios, Texas. This song, like most of my songs, is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of any of my characters to actual persons, living or deceased, is just plain lucky.”
Longtime fans know McMurtry's sharp songwriting has turned heads for a quarter century now. Evidence: McMurtry’s Just Us Kids (2008) and Childish Things (2005). The former earned his highest Billboard 200 chart position in nearly two decades and notched Americana Music Award nominations. Meanwhile, Childish Things scored endless critical praise and spent six full weeks topping the Americana Music Radio chart in 2005 and 2006. In 2006, Childish Things won the Americana Music Association’s Album of the Year and “We Can’t Make It Here” was named the rapidly rising organization's Song of the Year.
“James McMurtry may be the truest, fiercest songwriter of his generation” – Stephen King